Mr. Speaker, for three hours this afternoon the House had the advantage of hearing the views of the hou. gentleman, not upon the subject under discussion, but upon many matters totally foreign to the measure that the House is now considering. If, this afternoon, a stranger had been in our galleries, and many there were, and had not in advance been informed of the subject under debate, it would have been impossible for him to have known what the subject was that was properly in order before the House. For three hours this afternoon the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) occupied the attention of the House ostensibly in order to aid by some useful contribution in the solution of a very important public question, but instead of bringing to the aid of his country his great talents, I think it will be found on a careful perusal of his words that his efforts were rather to sow the seeds of discord to the injury of his country. He began by giving us, as he has on many occasions and as he also has given to the public, his view's on the question of political principles and political morality. It must be extremely elevating to the people of Canada to take their inspiration of political morality from such a source. He entered politics with principles. He describes the Liberal party as conveniently packing their principles in a remote corner of a small valise, and he states that they are able to get rid of them as conveniently as they can put them in or take them out of the valise. What about the principles of the hon. gentleman ? I can recall many of his professed principles, for perhaps his principles are not very deep-seated, and, like old garments, they are
easily disposed of in favour of new ones. I remember the first principle he advocated when he entered public life. He came here with a valise, and I suppose he had his political principles in the valise. What was the first principle he had in his valise ? It was a principle which served a useful purpose. His great political principle, and before it all other great questions faded into insignificance, was prohibition. 1 The welfare of the country demanded that the first consideration, higher than that of party, should be given to the question of prohibition. That was his political capital for many a year ; that was the only article in his political valise. He arrived in Ottawa with his political valise. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that he had only one principle. He had another stowed away which did not take up much room and did not occupy a very long time in that valise, but he entered this House pledged as an independent Conservative to stand up for all good measures. Party was a secondary consideration for him ; his country demanded his first attention. He had these two principles when he entered public life. What became of them ? The independent Conservative principle could not be allowed to stand, because it stood in the way of preferment, and so the first thing that happened his little valise was to deprive it of the presence in it of his principle of political independence. It stood in the way of his entering the cabinet. It was thrown overboard and he got a portfolio. But it was not enough to get a portfolio. It is one thing to get a portfolio ; it is another thing to retain a portfolio. He has had some experience in both of these. He had to get rid of his other principle, and prohibition was thrown overboard, and with it his little valise. As time advanced he deemed it necessary to avow his being devoutly possessed of another principle. What was that principle ? He had taken office. He had become a strict party man. It was essential to him an apostate now but then a party man, that he should stand by his party, that he should be true to the government of which he was a member and true to the premier under whom he enlisted. His principle was-and it was a right one ; it was a principle that he was bound to live up to -that he should be true and loyal to his chief.
That is one of the principles he made profession of, but how long did that principle remain in his valise? It was there until it suited his purpose to dispose of it, and when was that? Sir John Macdonald, who first took him into office, had disappeared, others had been his chiefs and had disappeared also, and at last he enlisted under the banner of Sir Mackenzie Bowell. The history of Canada tells what then became of his principle of loyalty to his chief; the scenes that took place in this chamber and in the ante-rooms and lobbies of this House tell
what he did with that principle. Lastly, in 1896, on the eve of an election, the hon. gentleman evidently believing that it was good politics to stand by the minority, declared his undying allegiance to the cause of minorities. In 1896 he advocated the cause of minorities, he talked of respect for the constitution, but he found it didn't pay and to-day he seizes the opportunity _ to sever himself from the last of his political principles. No longer has the hon. gentleman any use for a political valise; hereafter a carpet bag will take its place. [DOT]